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Taket-Live super tweeter and WHDPURE woofer enhancer Review

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Taket-Live super tweeters


Introduction: super tweeters

I’m sitting here listening to Al DiMeola’s Dinner Music of the Gods and thinking, “Wow, this sounds great!” But does it sound great without the TAKET-LIVE super tweeter and WHD PURE “woofer-high definitioner”? I unplug both of those satellite speakers and, sure enough, my system sounds really good but not as detailed, dimensional, or “right” as it was sounding previously. Such is life when evaluating components like these.

If you’ve read along, several months ago I reviewed a fabulous but very expensive add-on product, the Kan Sound Lab Mewon TS-001 ribbon super tweeter, which was brought to me by George Vatchnadze of Kyomi Audio. Merely by connecting it to my amp, setting the volume level and placing it on the floor next to my Vivid G1 speakers, I suddenly had a much larger, taller and more detailed soundstage, smoother treble, more defined bass, and an enhanced sense of “rightness” of the music. All from a satellite speaker, which, when I put my ear right up to it, doesn’t make an audible sound! Thus was my welcome to the world of super tweeters. It amazed me enough that I decided that I needed to get a better handle on this fascinating component category. I subsequently obtained and wrote a review about the Townshend Maximum super tweeter. Next, my research led to me Japan-based TakeT just as the company was releasing a new and redesigned surround super tweeter, the Taket-Live. This review covers the Taket-Live as well as an even more baffling component from TakeT, the WHDPURE.

I won’t repeat all the general comments I provided about super tweeters in the introductory sections of my Kan Audio Lab and Townsend reviews. Super tweeters, at least those I’ve heard, are the real thing. Don’t be fooled by online “experts” who have not actually listened to super tweeters in an existing audio system. They will explain to you that super tweeters can’t possibly do anything for your system because human hearing “can’t hear” frequencies above 20kHz. Ignore them and go ahead and actually listen for yourself. If you hear what I’m hearing, and at 69 years old my hearing is supposedly, seriously degraded, you will feel a general sense of rightness to the music, with a much more enhanced “you are there” experience.

For clarity, in my comparisons I’m adding the super tweeters to the main system in my dedicated music room: Laufer Teknik Memory Player, Bricasti M1DAC with network option, Gryphon EVO Antileon amp, Vivid Audio G1 Giyas, all connected via Stealth, Inakustik and Lessloss cables and powered with AudioMagic, Lessloss and custom Laufer Teknik PCs. Note that the LIVE and the WHD PURE were connected by midrange, moderately-priced speaker cables. I may yet experiment with other cables.

Individual characteristics of the Taket-Live

Given its design, I expected the Taket-Live to sound different than the Kan and Townshend units, both of which use ribbons and project forward. First, TakeT employs what it calls a “TAT” driver, which I gather is a variation of a piezo-electric driver. Second, the Taket-Live is omni-directional, attempting to create a more open-sounding soundstage. Third, like the Townshend, the frequency range of the Live is fixed; but unlike the Townshend, the low end of its frequency response is 20kHz. It also differs from the Kan super tweeter in that the Kan has three frequency cutoff settings, and the 19kHz option worked best for me.

Though all three super tweeters had the positive effects described above, the combination of these three design differences, and perhaps others, nonetheless results in a different presentation by the Taket-Live. The contrast is greatest when comparing the Taket-Live with the Townshend Maximum. The Townshend is much more directional and, with some music, it creates the sense of specific instruments beaming from specific points, (though this is occasional and not on all music. By “beaming” I mean that the instrument’s soundwave feels more like it has a laser focus as opposed a more diffuse sound. The Taket-Live smoothly spreads the added detail and speed throughout the soundstage without losing focus. In general, I found this presentation preferable, even though on some music the “beaming” of the Maximum created some very interesting staging effects, especially with instrument solos.

The Live also differs from the Kan unit in that the Live, used by itself, slightly shifts the overall character of the speakers more toward the upper midrange and treble. The Kan just seems to affect the entire frequency range smoothly. More on this below where I discuss the WHDPURE.

As mentioned above, the Live uses what TakeT calls a “TAT” driver, a polymer piezoelectric-type driver. TakeT claims that its TAT has a faster response than a traditional Heil (air motion transformer). I suggest you look at the TakeT website under “Technology,” but the translation from Japanese is difficult to follow. The fact that the TAT is supposedly a derivative of a piezo-electric driver gave me some pause, as I generally had the impression that piezo-electric drivers were often used in lower cost applications, such as car audio. I did some research to better understand how such drivers work, though I fear that my layperson’s description below will be inadequate.

As I understand it, the piezoelectric effect can create electrical energy from mechanical force, but there are actually two versions of this phenomenon: the direct piezoelectric effect, and the inverse piezoelectric effect. The direct piezoelectric effect relies on a semi-crystalline polymer’s ability to generate an electrical charge when a mechanical force is applied to it. The inverse piezoelectric effect applies an electrical field to a piezoelectric material, resulting in elongation or compression across its surface. In the former, external physical deformation results in electricity, while in the latter, an external electric field results in physical deformation. When the inverse piezoelectric effect is applied, an electric field can create a physical deformation like compression or strain. Oscillate the current fast enough and the result is a speaker that outputs sound waves at the frequency of your choice. (More than that I don’t understand!)

After extensive listening, all I can say is that the Live makes everything very lively in a “real” sense, with natural leading edges of every note. I thought my Vivid G1s were very fast speakers, but one of the characteristics of all three of the super tweeters I’ve tried is an additional sense of speed at the leading edge. This sense of speed translates into additional musical detail without making the music feel etched. I couldn’t do a head-to-head comparison, but from musical memory (which is very fickle) the Taket Live seems to be a touch faster than the Kan and Townshend units. Not sure that the perceived difference is real, or even material, but that’s my take.

On the other hand, the Taket Live seems to have a bit less effect on the midrange and bass, both of which were a bit more clearly enhanced by the Townshend unit, and even more clearly enhanced than that with the Kan. However, it’s here that the TakeT WHDPURE “woofer-high definitioner” comes in.

Taket WHDPURE woofer enhancersThe WHDPURE woofer-high definitioner

OK, this is where my brain went off the rails. After my first experience with the Kan I did a ton of research and reading about super tweeters and their psychoacoustic effects. I definitely do not understand precisely why super tweeters whose low frequency starts at 19k or 20kHz and extends to 90k-100kHz have the effects they do, but I’ve read enough to get a general sense of how the effects might work to flesh out the recording venue and the detail and speed of the music. On the other hand, an add-on speaker that is barely audible and has a frequency response of 20Hz-15kHz just doesn’t seem to compute. Nonetheless, here I am, shaking my head as I listen.

What am I hearing? First, the slight treble/upper midrange tilt created by the Taket Live is offset by the WHDPURE and leaves the original balance of the main speakers intact. This happens because the WHDPURE somehow supplements the bass and midrange in the same way the Live supplements the overall frequency range. The effect is a very audible improvement in the leading edge, detail, and speed of the musical notes throughout the entire frequency range. Second, the improved dimensionality, spaciousness, detail, and speed that comes from adding the Live is further enhanced by adding the WHDPURE. The effect of using both units together is a very significant increase in the sense of being in the recording/performance venue. It’s clear that the two models were designed to work together.

In perusing the TakeT website I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in appearance between the WHDPURE and the TakeT H2+ headphones. To put it bluntly, the H2+ headphones are incredibly clunky looking, and I understand they have a very difficult impedance that requires specialized amplification. However, for purposes of this review, users swear that no other headphone comes close to the bass performance of the H2+. It looks to me like a large subcomponent of the H2+ is based on the fundamental design of the WHDPURE, or vice versa. This suspicion is confirmed by the fact that the WHDPURE instruction manual (in rough English translation) states that “the structure of the TAKET-WHDPURE is different an inside vibration board and the electric circuit, and doesn’t become a headphone though is the same face of TAKET-H2.”

So where does this leave us?

I have several thoughts about these components. One is a comparison to other “add-on” components. For example, I’ve used a Synergistic Research Atmosphere on and off for several years, and its effect has been very minimal, and virtually non-existent with many pieces of music. The TakeT components are way better in creating dimensionality, and improve other aspects to boot. Similarly, I’ve played with dynamic range expanders and equalizers, and they have not come close to the TakeT components’ bang for the buck. YMMV.

A second thought I’ve had is how these add-on speakers compare to various tweaks, such as upgrading interconnects or speaker cables. I’m a fan of good cablematching with specific components, but now I’m wondering if super tweeters wouldn’t have had greater effect than the various cable upgrades I made for comparable dollars. The point is that super tweeters, and in particular the Live/WHDPURE combo, may be a better way to upgrade your system than many other options.

I’m going to see if I can get the Kan Audio Lab TS-001 to compare head-to-head. The Kan is a superlative super tweeter, but my impression is that the combination of the Live and WHDPURE gives you a huge chunk of the Kan’s benefits at a small fraction of the price.

Even if a head-to head with the Kan shows that the Kan is clearly superior, the Taket Live and WHDPURE are staying in my main system. Despite the fact that I really don’t understand why they do what they do, they have managed to improve a pretty darn good system assembled over years of careful planning and experimentation. They also clearly improved the two secondary systems in my home, so even if I spent $100,000+ (which I won’t) for new speakers that do what the combined system now does, I will be able to use the TakeT units to upgrade my other systems.

The TakeT units also raise the intriguing possibility of seriously upgrading your current main speakers by adding $2,500 worth of add-on speakers. That may make no sense with $1,000 speakers, but if you have $10,000 speakers you should consider spending $15,000-$20,000 to achieve a significant sonic improvement. The Taket-Live and WHDPURE may be just the ticket.

Highly recommended. Current pricing is $1,475/pair for the TAKET-LIVE and $1,375 for the WHDPURE at Atelier 13 Audio in Nashville. If you can, I encourage you to buy the two together, which may get you a further deal. Happy listening!


Copy editor: Dan Rubin


U.S. importer’s comment:

Ed’s point on what makes dollar sense in terms of inclusion of the Live or the Live+WHDPure vis-à-vis the base cost of the user’s mains speaker is spot on. With sub $3K to $5K speakers, for instance, there is the basic BEEPURE which brings really good effects to a speaker in this price range, and this one lists for about a third of the Live’s price, or $450 , and we run Special Offers on this one for an optically interesting $395.

As to the mysterious way in which WHDPure performs its Voodoo … I scratched my head as well for some time, but I think I figured it out: We know that lower frequencies are slower and longer, but what about their related “harmonics”? These are like layers of complexity that superimpose over their main “tone”. These, by definition, are more intricate, and small and probably require a higher degree of, shall we call it, “magnification”? That is, also, if we are going to be able to perceive these higher order tonal nuances.

We experience these intricacies in a live performance. Strum a guitar, or hit a piano note. So, what is the issue here? My suspicion is that the issue is due to multiple things: A mid range or bass driver is a relatively “blunt” instrument by its very physical construction. These, and for the most part conventional, drivers operate up to speed limitations, that are unable to transduce the “faster” micro-dynamic impulses and harmonics that are part of the main tone.

Enter the WHD, which is in fact a transducer membrane that, given its physical attributes, does in fact operate at the higher vibratory speeds. The downside here is that these cannot push the quantity of air to efficiently create the high SPL “main tone”, as efficiently as conventional drivers can. So, what if we design a speaker with a conventional driver, but then “cleverly” add / superimpose a small fast driver that is in fact capable of operating in the mid to lower frequencies, one that will then provide the missing, and more intricate and complex, information?

My guess is that is what the WHD is designed to do.

Atelier 13 Audio sells direct to customers, and handles Taket’s U.S. communication approach, translations, visual presentation, et cetera. By selling direct, I am able to help my customers save on the 20% dealership margin.

I hope the above, and the attached images, are helpful.

Thanks for your contribution.

All Best,

Constantin Gregg-Saad

Atelier 13 Audio


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23 Responses to Taket-Live super tweeter and WHDPURE woofer enhancer Review

  1. Massimo Riccardi says:

    Hi Ed,
    I always follow your articles with great pleasure and interest and, after reading your interest in supertweeters, I bought the Elac 4pi plus.2 omnidirectional supertweeters.
    My speakers are Vivid Audio G1 Spirits and I placed the supertweeters just behind my speakers at a height of 1m.
    I set them at -4 db and 15khz.
    I really like the result obtained, also because my room is very large.
    It would be very interesting if you could try them.
    My best regards.
    Massimo Riccardi

    • Ed Momkus says:

      Hi Massimo – thanks so much for your comment! I will look into the Elac supertweeters, especially as they are omnidirectional, which I really like. Interesting that you placed them behind the G1’s. I didn’t try that with the TakeT’s. They seemed to work best on stands at tweeter height just inside the two G1s. I’ll let you know if I can get the Elacs.

      • Massimo Riccardi says:

        Hi Ed,
        I appreciate so much your reply and I hope that you will be able to try Elac omnidirectional supertweeter. They are a very good products…. and I would be so interested to read your review.
        My best regards.

  2. Stringreen says:

    Under the heading…”How does it work”…..did you ever try a Schumann Generator?

  3. Kevin Hertog says:

    I also have a pair of elac omnidirectional tweeters paired with Martin Logan speakers. The clarity of the mid and highs open the soundstage. With that I find I am constantly repositioning the tweeters to get away with the beaming effect. The amount of high frequency information can make it hard to follow lower notes. I would be interested what effect the WHDPure would have in balancing the lower range.
    Looks like an interesting product. Hope they ship to Canada.
    Kevin Hetog

  4. Vincent van der Velde says:

    Nice review! Since I am a fan of the Taket headphones I order this combo right away. I got some questions regarding the setup:
    – Did you find that speakercable quality has an effect on the performance of both units?
    – Does cable lenghts matter?
    – What do you consider to be the optimal connection scheme (which speaker bindings did you use – back of amp vs speaker bindings, what about bi-wiring and use of jumpers etc.)?


    • Vincent van der Velde says:

      Reply from Mr. Takei on the above questions:

      Did you find that speakercable quality has an effect on the performance of both units?
      We confirmed the cable for TAKET-LIVE affect to a little.

      So we recommend STUDIO9497(BELDEN) as far as we have tested

      But please confirm other cables if you chance to try as we have not tested so many cables.

      on the other hand cable don’t affect so much for WHDPURE, because it’s impedance is very high and the current which floe in WHDPURE is very few.

      Do cable lenghts matter?
      We used about 1m to 5m, but I could not confirm much difference.

      3. What do you consider to be the optimal connection scheme (which speaker bindings did you use – back of amp vs speaker bindings, what about bi-wiring and use of jumpers etc.)?

      TAKET-LIVE cut under 20kHz as much as possible. So you don’t worry about connected system. It’s OK only you connect it to tweeter.

      If you are using a bi-wiring system, connect to the tweeter side of your speaker or amplifier.

      WHDPURE shoud be connected to woofer side.

      We don’t confirm the difference in the sound quality so much about speaker binding.

  5. Ed Momkus says:

    Hi Vincent – excellent questions. First, I found that the Live supertweeter operated equally well with several different sets of good, but not truly top-of-the-line cables. By that I mean$300-600 retail cables. However, on the WHD Pure I felt that “heftier” (more wire bulk) seemed to sound better. Second, I did not find that cable lengths mattered, though my lengths were only 9-14 feet. Finally, I opted to connect both cables directly to the amp using stackable bananas. This was actually more because of the Vivid G1’s connector positioning than anything else. The G1’s have terminals UNDER the speaker and require 2 people to be involved in changing cables. As a result I now having three cables per side running from the amp, I opted to have custom cables made which have an outer jacket that visually matches my carpeting and blends in, chameleon-like.

  6. Zuman says:

    I recently purchased a pair of Taket Live supertweeters from Atelier 13 and Constantin recommended simple 26-28 AWG solid core copper in cotton. I suspect that it will be very difficult to evaluate cables for supertweeters, though. While I have not yet completed the system the Taket Lives will be a part of, I’ve “played” with them and there is no question that they have an impact on the overall presentation. The primary effect I’ve noted so far is that there seems to be more space around individual instruments and voices, and that space allows me to notice timbres, textures, etc. Whether this is accurate reproduction or just a “special effect” is something I don’t know yet. I also don’t know if the effects will be satisfying over the long term…but it’s entertaining at the moment!

    • Vincent van der Velde says:

      I echo your experiences, but the ‘effect’ can be tuned very well to your likings with the intensity knob. I prefer ‘5’ at maximum. I can say that adding WHDpures really balances out the overall performance and I can easily say this combo is a keeper for me.

  7. Mike says:

    Vincent and Ed –
    I’ve just ordered the WHDpures to complement my TakeT Lives. Have you learned anything about positioning them? I’m not inclined to stick them to the side of my main speakers, and I’ll be honest that I want to pay at least slight attention to visual aesthetics! I’m told they can be positioned right up against the baffle of a main speaker (if you can call it a “baffle” on a G1!), but what have you found to be the best solution for you? Thanks!

    • Vincent van der Velde says:

      Hi Mike,

      I have been experiencing with the placement of the WHDpures for several hours and found that in front of the bass baffle works best: I feel that the lower registers are then optimal supported and the sound is beautiful coherent. No idea if it is speaker dependent (I use EgglestonWork Savoys) but for me the effects of the different placements are very much in line with the way it has been described on the TakeT website ( As always: trust your ears and good luck! Cheers Vincent

  8. Mike says:

    Thanks, Vincent – you’re right, I’ll use my ears. Sometimes, of course, they get into an argument with my brain…

  9. Chris says:

    Any research on how a mix of frequencies is perceived? While a human can’t hear above 20k with a pure tone, I’m not sure how things work with stuff like square waves? To define the edges requires infinite frequency response. While most instruments naturally resonate at various frequencies, the transient start of a sound would technically benefit from higher frequencies.

  10. Mike says:

    Hello, All. To anyone who owns the Taket WHDpures: I’ve corresponded with a well-known member of What’s Best Forum and while we’re both happy with our Taket supertweeters, neither of us has been successful with our WHDpures. In fact, we’re not really sure that they’re having ANY impact (positive or negative) on our overall sound presentation. We’d really like to not give up on them, so any advice would be welcomed. I have my WHDpures on spiked 6″ mahogany cubes that I’ve tried both directly in front of and to the outside of my main speaker baffles, and also in a slight offset between those two positions. Can any owners make any recommendations? Vincent? Ed?

    • Ed Momkus says:

      Hi Mike – so sorry to be so late in responding. I had some personal matters that took all my attention. However, it also has given me more time to assess the WHDpures.

      First, I will say the WHDpures have less of an effect than the super tweeters. Second, it took quite a while to evaluate their positioning, as my main speakers’ have side-firing woofers. In the end I found that positioning them in front of my side-firing speaker, but pointing slightly outward – away from the listening position, had the best effect. The most noticeable effect was expanding the soundstage.

      I’m in the process of building a new home and will be trying the WHDs in an entirely different system. I expect to be able to provide fresh findings in late September after we take possession.

  11. Mike says:

    Thank you, Ed. Your system and your reputation will make the wait worthwhile!

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